Mario Sassi

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Ph.D. Candidate, Italian Studies
Contact Information
Office Location: 
Will 537
Office Hours: 
Tues. 5-6pm; Weds. 5-6pm

Mario Sassi graduated cum laude in Italian language and literature (Lettere Moderne: Studi Italiani) at the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” His thesis on Italian Philology (“Authorial Philology: problems and examples of critical editions”) discusses Dante's “Il Fiore" and his alleged paternity of the text, and other issues of attribution. His works in literary and philological fields focus on the first centuries of Italian literature and on the 17th-century Accademia dell'Arcadia. Besides his research on Italian literature, he has a keen interest in Italian and International Film studies and TV shows, about which he has written extensively on specialized online platforms. Moreover, he is interested in the formulation of the Italian canon and reception issues of medieval texts in the modern world.

He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on Italian medieval literature, sermons, and exempla in Italian and Latin.

Dissertation: Bedeviled Clergy and Demonic Roosters: The Supernatural in Trecento and Quattrocento Exempla (Advisor: David Wallace)

Research Interests

Dante Alighieri; medieval literature; preaching; philology; lives of saints; Italian and American film and tv show studies; the contemporary use of medieval texts; digital humanities.


2021 Penfield Research Award, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (PA)

2021 Salvatori Research Award, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (PA)

2021 Frederic C. Lane Dissertation Grant, Medieval Academy of America

2019-2020 Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

2019-2020 Department of Romance Languages, Certificate of Excellence in Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

2019: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship – Summer Institute in Italian Paleography, Newberry Library, Chicago.

Teaching experience:

Elementary Italian I (Fall 2018) 

Elementary Italian II (Spring 2019) 

Intermediate Italian I (Fall 2019)

Intermediate Italian II (Spring 2020)

Dante’s Divine Comedy: through Hell with Love (Spring 2020)

Conference Participation

“The language of a preacher – Cavalca, Passavanti, and the first steps of a national vernacular,” Cinque Corone? Rethinking the Early Italian Canon. UCC, Ireland, 18-21 June 2020. [Postponed]

Roundtable: “Marginalia and Annotations in the Early Italian Tradition,” Society of Textual Scholarship 2020 Conference, Philadelphia PA, March 21, 2020. [Postponed]

“Meaning over word: Domenico Cavalca between the text and its message,” VOICES: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ, November 22-23, 2019.

“Presentazione del progetto di edizione dei testi statutari dell’Arcadia,” Convegno internazionale di studi “Canoni d’Arcadia,” Sapienza Università, Rome, June 8, 2018.

“Digitally-Enhanced Teaching and Learning for Language and Culture Teachers and Learners: Reflexive and Reciprocal Feedback,” in the panel “Technology in the Curriculum,” The Northeast Association for Language Learning Technology Conference, Philadelphia PA, April 6, 2019.

“Beyond Passion: Love between the Fiore and the Comedy,” in the panel “The Commedia: Text and Responses,” Medieval Academy of America Annual Conference, Philadelphia PA, March 8, 2019.


Edited Books

Elisabetta Appetecchi, Maurizio Campanelli, Cristina Di Bari, Achille Giacopini e Mario Sassi, eds. I testi statutari del Commune d’Arcadia. Rome: Accademia dell’Arcadia, 2021.


Forthcoming - “The language of a preacher: Cavalca, Passavanti, and the first steps toward a national vernacular,” Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa.


Laboratorio Carte d’Arcadia. Esercizi di edizione.